Will Rogers Junior High sixth grade students competed in the second annual Aero Games at Rogers State University. Students placed third in the sail car competition and first in hot-air balloons.
RSU partnered with Google to host the event, offered to junior high and high school students from northeast Oklahoma.
Students participated in hands-on aerospace competitions using gliders, wind-powered rockets, remote-controlled helicopters and other wind and aerospace-related objects. Teams were judged on distance, height, weight, volume and draft.
WRJH science teacher and team sponsor Jackie Boyd said the students prepared ahead of time for the competitions, and participated in all events, including hot air balloon, RC helicopter obstacle course, paper gliders and sail cars.
“Each student prepared their own sail car and paper glider, and the team built their own hot air balloon,” Boyd said. “We practiced for the obstacle course section of the games using the remote-controlled helicopter after testing and making needed adjustments.”
Aero Games promotes STEM education (science, math, engineering and technology), by offering a fun, interactive learning experience at no cost to students. The Oklahoma State Department of Education added the STEM program in September 2011, and since then has granted more than $400,000 to STEM services for teachers across the state.
Boyd said the students have not participated in other STEM programs, but hope to in the future.
“The team enjoyed the experience very much. Students said they ‘had a lot of fun, more fun than sitting at home playing video games.’ They gave up a Saturday to do this, learning that adjustment had to be made in order for something to work,” she said.